I rolled into Bastrop, TX friday morning... I had pushed it. I doubted the hotel would have my room ready at 11am but I decided to stop by and check. Sure enough the room was ready and I was able to check in. I was still dressed for driving... meaning I was wearing sloppy beat up cargo shorts... a t-shirt of some form or another... and generally looked like crap. It took a few trips to get all the stuff up to the room... because I had to setup for the ATF show later that night so I had a little more stuff with me than I normally would.
I had just gotten the laptop setup and was checking the internet connection when the hotel phone rang. Why the hell would the hotel phone ring? Irritated... I walked over and grabbed it.
"Ummmm this is the front desk... ... you have a lot of... guests down here."
oh for fucks sake...
"ok... I'll be right down."
I grabbed the room key and headed downstairs. Sure enough... the ambush team was there in the lobby. I recognized my assailants instantly. Difster and Clint stand out. I don't remember a lot about this ambush... other than the fact that I am certain I gave someone a hug. There were several of them there... and I hadn't noticed it at the time but Difster's young son was there to... which was an awkward realization after I had dropped a few f-bombs and questioned everyone's sexual preferences in various ways.
Apparently they were kidnapping me for lunch. That was fine with me but I wasn't ready for that quite yet. I had left a bunch of stuff up in the room. I headed back up... changed... strapped on the Steyr as always... and headed back down.
We went off to a little tex-mex steak place that was near by. No one had eaten there before... which was bizarre to me. Difster doesn't eat out much? Apparently he prefers to eat his mexican at home. Things were comfortable though... it was like meeting old friends. The only really strange moment was when the waitress came for our drink orders... and Clint ordered un-sweet tea like some God Hating Communist... everyone ordered something like... sweet tea or water with lemon or some crap. I felt like I was out to lunch with my wife's friends. I looked at them like they were all insane and got a beer. What the hell is wrong with you people?
Then things got worse.. as the guys looked through their menus trying to decide what to order. This was greatly confusing to me. The steak page was fairly easy to find and it just doesn't take that long to decide between sirloin or ribeye or t-bone. And yet... here they were... thumbing though like they were lost.
While I took this as a bad omen everything worked out ok... even though Difster ordered his steak burned. I was taken aback by this at first but when I remembered he arrived in Texas via California and Minnesota it made more sense. Everything was excellent... even though it was more than a little awkward when Clint order Tofu.
It turned out to be an excellent meal... improved by the fact that I was able to put Clint on the spot by asking him to bless it. To my dismay he handled the prayer with grace enthusiam and class...
Finishing up there is was time to ride down to Larry's place. The ride was plenty comfortable as Larry's little boy was peppering me with questions and tales from Minecraft and Five Nights at Freddies. Given that I have 3 boys between the ages of 8 and 12 I am used to that. Once at Larrys I got to meet his lovely wife and we just hung out for a while until Auto_Matthew showed up. He's not at all what you would expect. Imagine a 6'1" 150 pound red neck Charlie Brown. He looks like he's about 20... but he's not.
Not long after Matthew arrived Zack pulled out this board game he invented and was currently trying to market. He spent the next 45 minutes explaining the rules to us... which are about as simple as nuclear physics... and then reminded us that his was the most simple version of the game.
We played the game.. which had something to do with Gods and Empowerment cards... and... I realized if we didn't stop playing soon we'd all revert back to virgins. Thankfully before that happened I looked up at the clock and realized it was time to head to the airport to pick up the Mad Fin... Marrku... his own self.
We split up... me and larry heading to the airport... the rest of the guys heading to The Mean Eyed Cat for Puppypalooza. Oh the way... Larry got a text from Marrku:
"I am in the shit. Plane broke. Stuck in detroit."
Well that certainly had to suck. After some quick googling around Larry found that the plane wouldn't be landing to much much later... so we turned around and headed for the Mean Eyed Cat. about 10 of the ilk were already standing around in the patio area when we got there... and we basically showed up and took the place over.
Puppypalooza was a blast. Farmer Tom and his wife showed up... STG... DeanHall and Lulabell showed up and kept it from being a total pickle party. I couldn't even begin to name everyone that showed up there. I counted over 30 at one point. We got to meet a lot of folks from the blog world... but the best thing was the three lurkers that showed up. One was a Shannon... and she'd been lurking at Vox's for a long... long time. She knew all of us and knew all the old stories and was a real kick to have around... but the other two lurkers... they sort of showed up and said hi... told us they were lurkers... and then... well... They lurked. They basically sat at a table and really didn't talk to anyone unless someone forced them to.
yep... you read that right.
We had real life lurkers.
A great time was had but it passed far to quickly. I realized I had to get back to fire up the ATF show.. and someone was gonna have to get to the airport to get Marrku.
To Be Continued...
It should be noted that the only reason that it took Zach 45 minutes to explain the rules is that we kept interrupting him with inane comments about the game along with plenty of innuendo, etc.
Also, after we ambushed Nate in the hotel lobby, it took him at least 15 minutes to go back to his room to change his panties.
"Apparently he prefers to eat his mexican at home"
Good times. Good times. I have a feeling the stories will continue for a while.
OK, to be clear - Nate is joking I did not have tofu. I had chicken wrapped in cheese and bacon. BACON. Lots of onions and peppers in there, too. To be fair, I did get unsweet tea. Gotta watch the sugar levels, plus I knew I would have plenty of beer later.
The other thing here is that we realized that Zach was empowered by this game.
We had real life lurkers
I don't know why this is funny to me, but it is.
I was hoping Obvious would show, but it doesn't sound like he did.
There is nothing wrong with drinking unsweet tea. I've got a big glass of it in front of me right now. Drinking diet beer on the other hand is a crime against humanity.
So, no actual authors? Up here at the Center of the World I got to spend a few minutes talking to J L Curtis (of Grey Man fame), as well as John Wright.
Sounds like you boys had a fun time, did you get to play twister and have cake? Hey, next time get a bounce castle!
Bill: "Hey, next time get a bounce castle!"
They would have, Bill, but they were sold out and reported that you got the last one.
Sounds like good times all around, sorry I couldn't make any of them (friends visiting from out of town). Though I'm wondering how the Mad Finn stacked up against the Mad Aussie from his US visit when the drinking began in earnest.
Any chance the 2016 Alabama meetup might be held earlier -- say in May, when I'll already be down there?
Bill... did you get to shoot a 458 Socom in DC?
Well, I was kinda busy chatting, so, no I didn't get to shoot anything. But, there was some shooting about five miles away in SE DC, so it was close if you wanted to, I just didn't feel like making the drive.
I really think you should read part 2 before you make bounce castle comments.
Only a party involving Nate would have real life lurkers. So glad you guys had fun. Looking forward to part 2. Hopefully Markku made it okay. I too would like a comparison between JamieR and the resident MadFin.
Here's the bizarre thing... I could understand everything Marrku said. JaimeR and I were both speaking english at each other of 2 hours before either one of us could understand the other.
Ok, well, post part 2 and I'll think of something else snarky to say. ;)
Oh, we also had a few guys wearing those pin-up girl shirts, like the one that scientist got the SJW waggy-finger treatment for wearing.
"I was hoping Obvious would show, but it doesn't sound like he did."
Can you imagine if Tad showed up and he was actually a normal guy?
its possible Tad and Tiny Tim were both there... none of us would've known if they were the lurker types.
I think all the Pox on your VaJayJay banned trolls were at the Capital of the World meetup, just a guess....
I only drink unsweetened tea. It is better that way.
Let's see........CultureWarDraftee was there. Robbright. And I'm pretty sure poli_mis was there.....or maybe I'm imagining that. There were 2 Zacks.
I'm sure the Zach (mentioned above) calmly and with great patience explained and explained the rules to you guys. I could see him being a patient person.
I am gonna show up in an Elvis white eagle jump suit for the Alabama Ilk Moot 2016, either that, or wearing a CSA officers uniform with an ostrich feather in my hat
by the way, Rodger the old dude machinist is working on some upgrades for the recoil buffer
sill gotta send Nate some pictures
If the in person JamieR was anything like his comments on Vox's blog, I can totally get where you are coming from. I always picture JamieR as an outtake Monty Python sketch when he gets wound up just right. I imagine he would be a lot of fun to hang out with.
Markku speaking so well is a dead give away that he isn't American. Nobody here speaks English as well as a bilingual European does when they visit America. Example: Hugh Laurie playing a Texan, Dr. Gregory House, MD for 6 years.
I truly hope he enjoyed himself.
Where's part 2, dammit?
I like that statement :-) I am Difster's Mexican !
I'm not sure which comment was best. Probably Viidad's about the anti-Vox gathering.
How can you order Mexican and not drink Margarita's? Go past the mass marketed tequila *cough* Jose Coervo *cough* and there are some very very good tequilas out there. Don't let that "the one time I drank tequila" story spoil tequila for the rest of your life. No matter how many times your friends tell the story.
The best and smoothest margarita I have ever had was at Applebee's. The bartender there concocted his own swamp water and the drinks were fantastic.
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